At Cardington School

In the long grass, winding her cardigan
round her like a misty shift. The road
opens towards the hangars, in which
you could almost hide Titanic from the storm.
The door stamped with a new sign,
and half the classroom hedged off,
turned into house. Someone is looking
at someone gulping the horizon with
lost eyes, prinking with water, glazed.
Could this tree? Could that hen, with its
slow chuckle, and red-raw comb?
Could that wall? Could those chimneys
like thick tubers, shooting skywards?

Out of this road (or that) come the children,
dawdling, or testing their hopskip, while
balloons with jug ears hover above them.
By the gate, forgetting about cameras,
cars, husbands, all things new-fangled,
she looks inside with her gob well-stopped.
Conkers roll at her feet, well-polished.
Here she stripped to her liberty bodice
and then, kamerad, kamerad, had to stand
with her hands on her head. She doffs
her memory. The clouds rise and fall.
She walks down the wooden hill, to Bedfordshire.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday